The East Texas operating subsidiary of Midcoast Energy LLC has made a final investment decision and entered into long-term anchor shipper agreements in support of its CJ Express expansion project, allowing producers in the Haynesville Shale further access to Gulf Coast markets.

Midcoast expects CJ Express to be completed in early 2021.

CJ Express would add compression and pipeline facilities at multiple locations on Midcoast’s existing East Texas pipeline system. The expansion activities would increase gathering capabilities in the Shelby Trough area of the Haynesville Shale and expand Midcoast’s Clarity pipeline transmission capacity to Gulf Coast demand centers to about 1 Bcf/d.

It should come as welcome news to producers in the play that have been battered by low natural gas prices. Earlier this month Haynesville Shale pure play Goodrich Petroleum Corp. CEO Gil Gordich said while the company is well positioned relative to its peers to withstand low prices and general market uncertainty, upstream activity in the Haynesville, mostly in northwestern Louisiana and partially in East Texas, is likely to continue slowing in 2020.

“Our internal numbers suggest that the Haynesville rig count hit about 60 rigs at a peak last year and the most recent week it’s at 38,” Goodrich said. “My personal belief is that that number comes inside of 30 and probably does fairly soon.”

The shale basin could also be bolstered by yet another pipeline to the Gulf Coast set to be ready in the next two years.

Enable Midstream Partners LP said during its fourth quarter earnings call that it plans to file certificate applications with FERC before the end of March to build the proposed Gulf Run Pipeline, designed to supply the Golden Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the upper Texas coast.

Enable’s management team expects to seek authorization to build a 1.7 Bcf/d pipeline to meet the needs of the 1.1 Bcf/d commitment from Golden Pass and allow for “additional capacity subscriptions that may develop from ongoing discussions.”

Subject to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval, management expects to place Gulf Run in service in late 2022 at a total project cost of around $640 million.